Pancreatic cancer still challenges oncologists

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek died on Sunday, well over a year after he announced that he had been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.  Dr. Andrew Coveler, an oncologist with UW Medicine and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, explains that this type of cancer almost always is diagnosed at an advanced stage because early symptoms are subtle or nonexistent, and because there's no early screening available.

Coveler discusses the improvements to treating this cancer over the past decade as well as current research.

"I think the important thing is that cancer research and oncology is rapidly changing, so there’s always the hope that a new treatment does come out sooner than later," Coveler says.

In most patients, pancreatic cancer emerges later in life.  If you have a family history of the disease, consider speaking with someone about whether genetic testing might be useful.

UW Medicine